It must not be forgotten that contact with the heathen had corrupted the opinions of the Jews, at the time of our Savior, from the simplicity of Moses, and that by receiving the traditions and fables of paganism, they had made void the word of God. They had accepted Hadees as the best Greek word to convey their idea of Sheol, but without investing it at first with the heathen notions of the classic Hadees, as they afterwards did. What these ideas were, the classic authors inform us. "The Jews had acquired at Babylon a great number of Oriental notions, and their theological opinions had undergone great changes by this intercourse. We find in Ecclesiastes and the Wisdom of Solomon, and the later prophets, notions unknown to the Jews before the Babylonian captivity, which are manifestly derived from the Orientals. Thus, God represented under the image of light, and the principle of evil under that of darkness; the history of good and bad angels; paradise and Hell, etc., are doctrines of which the origin, or at least the positive determination, can only be referred to the Oriental philosophy." (Milman's Gibbon ch. 21. of it, or the heathen and "evangelical" descriptions of Hell are wholly false.)
Dr. Thayer in his "Origin and History," says: "The process is easily understood. About three hundred and thirty years before Christ, Alexander the Great had subjected to his rule the whole of Western Asia, including Judea, and also the kingdom of Egypt. Soon after he founded Alexandria, which speedily became a great commercial metropolis, and drew into itself a large multitude of Jews, who were always eager to improve the opportunities of traffic and trade. A few years later, Ptolemy Soter took Jerusalem, and carried off one hundred thousand of them into Egypt. Here, of course, they were in daily contact with Egyptians and Greeks, and gradually began to adopt their philosophical and religious opinions, or to modify their own in harmony with them."
"To what side soever they turned," says the Universalist Expositor, "the Jews came in contact with Greeks and with Greek philosophy, under one modification or another. It was round them and among them; for small bodies of that people were scattered through their own territories, as well as through the surrounding provinces. It insinuated itself very slowly at first; but stealing upon them from every quarter, and operating from age to age, it mingled at length in all their views, and by the year 150 before Christ, had wrought a visible change in their notions and habits of thought."
We must either reject these imported ideas, as heathen inventions, or we must admit that the heathen, centuries before Christ, discovered that of which Moses had no idea. In other words either uninspired men announced the future fate of sinners centuries before inspired men knew anything
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